Joanna Swan

Don't Wake The Baby


About Joanna Swan

Originally inspired to sing by The Beatles, Bowie and Ella Fitzgerald, my musical career began after abandoning art school to sing backing vocals in a Motown band, before ululating into Peter Gabriel’s Fairlight Sampler and recording backing vocals with Martha And The Muffins.

As the original WOMAD photographer, I shot everyone from The Sex Pistols to The Beat to an album cover for Van der Graaf Generator’s Peter Hammill.

Several bands followed, including a 12-piece band called ‘Kolo’, with one half of Goldrapp on sax, the violinist on Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime, Ronnie Size’s drummer, and Pig Bag’s sax player.

My own band, The Sidneys, was fronted by me and 2 childhood girlfriends. Record label interest led to the addition of guitarist Nick Pullin. I was unhappily married to the drummer and within six months Nick and I eloped, embarking on our own musical path.

Still writing, recording, and gigging with our jazz and blues covers band, Massive Attack’s manager offered to manage us. We signed as ILYA to Virgin and Chrysalis in 2002 who released our critically acclaimed debut album, “They Died For Beauty”. However, despite playing Ronnie Scotts and The Lyceum, touring Europe, having Martin Freeman in our music video, and selling 40,000 albums in Europe, it all went pear-shaped. EMI bought out Virgin and the accountants advised EMI to drop all new signings.


We released our subsequent albums over the Internet and have been writing and recording new music every month for our Patreon subscribers. Our songs have been used in worldwide advertising campaigns, in TV and film, the Hollywood blockbuster “Mr. Brooks”, starring Kevin Costner and Jago (A Life Underwater) on Netflix, and in wildlife series. I’ve also co-written with French composer Francois Elle Roulin, Belgian composer Lunabee, and John 00 Fleming (Ministry Of Sound).

Now collaborating on Late Night Flying with a song written by myself and composer Kobi Swissa from Chicago.

Don't Wake The Baby - LYRICS

I wasn’t fishing for compliments
Just if every now and again
You would notice me, like you used to.

I don’t want to look so damn tired
Do you think that I don’t care
That you don’t see me anymore, like you used to.

Don’t wake the baby darling
Don’t wake the baby now
Don’t wake the baby darling
Don’t wake the baby now
Not now

Do you notice the scent that I’m wearing for you?
It’s the one you always love the most
Does it make you feel the way you used to, feel about me?

See darling I’ve put on your favourite dress
The one you bought for me on that sunny April day
You remember don’t you?

Don’t wake the baby darling
Don’t wake the baby now
Don’t wake the baby darling
Don’t wake the baby now

How do the years make me invisible?
The challenge of living has made you so blind
I’m just the girl I was all those years ago.
Can’t you see what you’re doing to me is so unkind.

Don’t wake the baby darling
Don’t wake the baby now
Don’t wake the baby darling
Don’t wake the baby now

The Story Behind The Song

I’d like to be able to say there was an actual inspiration behind this song but I work very spontaneously and let the chords guide me from the feeling they evoke first, (rather than a thought first).

Kobi Swissa sent me the chords on piano and the chorus words came out almost immediately and so from that ‘Don’t wake the baby’ starting point (and as my brain is very visual) I saw a film over the chords and that translated itself into this lyrical situation.

Fly A Little Further ...